May 11, 2021 By Christian Murray
Three candidates in the 26th City Council race have opened office space over the past month as the race to replace the term-limited Jimmy Van Bramer heats up.
Brent O’Leary, a long-time civic leader from Long Island City, opened an office at 43-18 48th Ave. in Woodside on April 10 by the Celtic Park apartment complex.
Meanwhile, Denise Keehan-Smith, a Woodsider and a former Community Board 2 chair, opened a campaign office at 50-04 Skillman Avenue Saturday. Hailie Kim, a Sunnysider, opened one at 48-21 Skillman Avenue recently and will have an official “grand opening” today.
The candidates said that they decided to rent office space in order to have a base for their campaign— and a location where they can meet voters. Most candidates, however, have elected to use their apartments as a base.
“I felt we needed to be accessible to the people,” O’Leary said, adding that he chose the 48th Avenue location believing that it is in a central section of the 26th council district.
“It is right on the border of Sunnyside and Woodside and I think it is a lucky spot as it is four blocks away from the house where my grandfather immigrated to and my father was raised. It is a wonderful neighborhood which is often overlooked,” O’Leary said.
Meanwhile, Kim said she needed to open an office to cater to her growing campaign.
“We decided to open an office because our operations were growing to the point where we couldn’t function without one—we needed somewhere to meet, to dispatch volunteers and store our campaign materials.”
Kim also said that she had been eyeing the Skillman Avenue location since January. “It’s in a very central part of Sunnyside.”
Meanwhile, Smith opened her office on Skillman Avenue for similar reasons.
“We wanted to be centrally located between the Woodside and Sunnyside areas,” she said. “It is also a highly trafficked area and is a short walk from the train station.”
On Saturday, she was in her office for her grand opening—along with her campaign manager and staff—all wearing masks, and greeting visitors. She had brochures on the tables and a map of the 26th District was on the wall.
“It’s working out,” she said. “I’m very happy.”
The election takes place on June 22. However, registered voters can cast their ballot as early as June 12, when early voting begins.